Now that my wife and I have started another blog on WordPress to track the progress of our pregnancy, I am going to try to start posting on this blog again too!  I often think that I would like to write on here, but usually I don’t have the time.  But writing is valuable, and I will make my best effort to do so in the new year! 🙂

A Quick Thought

July 30, 2008

I know that I have written on a similar topic recently, but I heard something as I rode in my car the other day that got me thinking along these lines again. I heard a preacher say in a message on free will vs. the sovereignty of God that, “God will not force you to love Him.” I have 2 questions (one with two parts) in response to that:

1. If Romans 3:10-12 is true (there is none good), how exactly does loving God come about in a person’s life? That is, if He does not do something to compel me to love Him, how do I, as one of the “none good,” come to love Him?

2. If loving God is the best thing for me, why should I be upset if He “forces” me to love Him?

Say I Am

July 17, 2008

While I may not agree with every single word of this song, I find myself thinking about it a lot in my life.  I think it is a good reminder – something to keep me from pride when things are going well, and something to keep me from discouragement when I am reminded of how sinful I still am.

“There’s an old man living here after all these years
Thought he’d been dead and gone
But he suddenly appears
And I am not so comfortable with him still around
‘Cause he has got a voice in me I have found
There’s a chance that I can take him down for good
It’s in giving in to what I know I should
And I wish I could, but

I’m not as smart as I think I am
I could lie, but I’ll tell the truth
And though I try, it’s just no use
I am a foolish, foolish man
And I’m not as good as I say I am
Won’t You take this man that remains to be
And nail him up and let him bleed and die
Let him die

I’ve seen this mystery and I felt no surprise
I’ve seen a life unfold and still been uninspired
There is no boundary to what I have abused
My pathetic wandering leaves me nothing but confused
And I could tell You that I’ve got it figured out
Rather stand in front of You and scream and shout
That without a doubt

I’m not as smart as I think I am
I could lie, but I’ll tell the truth
And though I try, it’s just no use
I am a foolish, foolish man
And I’m not as good as I say I am
Won’t You take this man that remains to be
And nail him up and let him bleed and die
Let him die”

-“Say I Am” by Satellite Soul

“‘Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place.  You are witnesses this day.’  Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, ‘We are witnesses.  May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel.  May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.'”  -Ruth 4:10-12

Boaz would redeem Ruth the Moabite woman in order to carry on the name of her former husband.  Boaz was sent with a blessing by the elders of Israel, as a noble and upright man whose desire was to please the Lord in all that he did.  Ruth would not live the rest of her life alone, and her desire to cling to Naomi, to care for her, to forsake her own gods to follow the God of Naomi, was blessed mightily.  Naomi would not die without seeing her legacy, her generations, continue.  The cup of bitterness that she had been given was turned to joy by God’s grace. 

And us?  When I read of the the elders saying, “May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem…” my mind goes to Micah 5:2:

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from old, from ancient days.”

Who is that one?  Jesus Christ, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, our Savior!  And how does He fit into the story of Ruth?  Jesus is a direct descendant of Ruth and Boaz (Matthew 1:5).  Praise God for how He works in all things, for the joy of His people, in ways that we cannot fathom!  Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz were certainly blessed, and so are we through them!

Hallelujah

July 4, 2008

“At first I am afraid but not because of fear
But the Holy of Holies is drawing me near
Your voice like thunder shakes the ground I’m on

So hide my face in the shadow of Your wings, oh Lord
Hide my sin from the beauty here before Your throne
Your throne

Hallelujah for the blood of the Lamb that was slain
Hallelujah for the blood of the Lamb that was slain
And so we enter in to see Your face, yeah
We enter in to see Your face, oh God

Well I’m falling to my knees. I feel the earth beneath
With the weight of my sin, and this crushing unbelief
Could You really love me with all that I’ve done, oh Lord

You spread Your hands
And made a refuge for the weak and blessed
The weary, bruised, and broken
Took our sin. Inside Your wounds we hide away
Inside Your wounds we hide

Hallelujah for the blood of the Lamb that was slain
Hallelujah for the blood of the Lamb that was slain
And so we enter in to see Your face, yeah
We enter in to see Your face, oh God”

-“Hallelujah” by Tenth Avenue North

Lewis Quote

July 3, 2008

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

-C.S. Lewis

Two Charcoal Fires

July 1, 2008

“Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves.  Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself.”     -John 18:18

After his first denial of Jesus, Peter stood outside of the court of the high priest on what must have been a chilly night.  He joined with the officers and servants in warming himself, and before long he would twice more deny that he was one of Jesus’ disciples.  Bitter sadness would follow.

“When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.”  -John 21:9

After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples many times.  Once, as seven of them were fishing, he stood on the shore and called to them.  They had been fishing all night and caught nothing, yet Jesus (though they did not yet know that it was Him) told them to cast on the right side of the boat once more.  And they could not even haul the net in, because of the amount of fish they caught.  Peter immediately knew that it was Jesus, so he jumped into the sea and swam to shore. 

But as he got to the shore, where Jesus was standing, he certainly noticed the charcoal fire.  As I meditated on this passage the other day, I tried to imagine what went through Peter’s mind at that time.  The sight of the fire undoubtedly brought back memories of what he had done not so long ago, painful memories of denying his allegiance with Jesus.  What would Jesus do?  Would He point to the fire and say, “Remember this Peter?  Well, now I want nothing to do with you!”  He certainly would have been just in doing so. 

But He didn’t do that.  In the presence of the charcoal fire, Jesus restored Peter.  He was patient with Peter.  He called Peter to care for His flock.  The Great Shepherd was calling this denier to shepherd His sheep.  How merciful Jesus is to Peter here, and to we who believe now!   Though we have denied, though we have been apathetic, though we have betrayed, through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice we may find restoration, not condemnation.  And we the restored deniers are priveleged to minister for the glory of the Chief Shepherd!

Praise God, who sent His Son to bear the fires of betrayal and denial in order that we may experience the fire of restoration! 

All I Know

June 27, 2008

Time to get back to writing…let’s start with some lyrics:

“Spit and the clay, when washed away
Gave the blind man sight
New eyes couldn’t comprehend the sun
That by light ended the night
Shackled in blindness since his birth
Whose sin, was it him, what’s it all worth

Now with eyes wide open
They interrogate him
Saying ‘Who is he?’
‘Do you believe what that man is saying?’
‘Who do you say is he?’

‘All I know
Is I was blind’, he said,
‘And now I see’
‘All I know is he healed me’

I sit here today
So I say that I believe in Him
Yet I cannot fathom the wind-like way
That’s made me new again
Shackled in darkness since my birth
Whose sin, was it me, what’s it all worth

Now new from the womb
They interrogate me
Saying ‘Who is he?’
‘Do you believe what that book is saying?’
‘How gullible can you be?’

‘All I know
Is I was blind’, he said,
‘And now I see’
‘All I know is he healed me’

Darwin may tend to disagree
I don’t know
Marx is writing a drug I need
Still I don’t know
Freud analyzes in my head
Nietzsche’s saying God is dead
But I’m saying

All I know is I was blind
And now I see
All I know is He healed me.”

-Caedmon’s Call, “All I Know”

The title of this post is obviously untrue, but it is sad to me how little I have cared about the rest of Christian history.  Sure, I know about Augustine, Luther, Calvin, the Puritans, but I have never invested alot of time into studying the last 2000 years of our faith.  And I enjoy history!  Lately I have been reading this book, and it has been such a blessing to me.  I would encourage anyone who reads this blog to take a look at Christian history and marvel at the power of our God, who has gone to amazing lengths to protect the glory of His name, the integrity of His Word, and the foundations of real faith.  It is great to consider the men and women who have sacrificed to preserve the true faith, and also how God used disgusting sin to preserve the true faith as well.  I believe that anyone who studies Christian history will come away with a greater appreciation for God’s sovereignty over all things, as well as His amazing grace and love.  Knowing history helps me to love the God of all history more!

Great Lengths

May 22, 2008

I have been thinking this morning about some lyrics to a song from the first Christian CD I ever owned. Sadly, they often hit home with me.

“Here I am once again
Pleading
To the sky
Kneeling to the sands shedding my
Regrets
Knowing You’ll forget everything

Why didn’t I go to such great lengths to
Try to please You
Instead I tried to please myself
In the end when your heart is broken
I see the folly of trying to please myself

I have not yet arrived
Seeing
Anything
Quiet my desires till they die
Until they die
Or align with Your will

Why didn’t I go to such great lengths to
Try to please You
Instead I tried to please myself
In the end when your heart is broken
I see the folly of trying to please myself”

-Pray For Rain, “Great Lengths”

I put the one section in bold because of course we are not called to live a life without desire.  But as believers, our desires should be growing more and more similar to the desires of our Father.  I pray that He would continue that work in me, and in each of us.  Father, quiet our sinful desires until they die, and give us desires that align with Your will.